Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Active Listening Mindset: Non-Judgment

73/365 by Becca Peterson, cc license
Okay! Ready to be non-judgmental? This should be easy. Simply forget all of your current beliefs and opinions and then erase the words "good" and "bad" from your vocabulary. All set!

Seriously, though, judging gets a bad reputation in the active listening world, when our ability to make judgments is often important. In my previous life of preparing volunteers for the crisis hotline, I often reminded them that my goal was not to create "Stepford volunteers" or complete blank slates devoid of personality. Those human elements are essential to connecting. Also, being able to judge, or perceive, how one path forward may be more beneficial than another in an active listening conversation is an important skill to cultivate.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Trust and Surrender: Lessons from pregnancy, labor, and beyond.

Snuggling with Laurel Mei (Photo by Jason Pratt)
On Saturday, October 5th, we welcomed Laurel Mei Pratt into the world and into our family. I had a beautiful, out-of-hospital birth at The Midwife Center: Jason and I arrived there at 7pm, Laurel was born just before 10pm, and by 7am we were back home where Jason and my dad (parents drove up from VA) fixed us a big pancake and bacon breakfast.

Aside from the profound lack of sleep that comes from having a newborn and a three-year-old (no more "sleep when the baby sleeps," sigh), the past few weeks have been pretty amazing. Laurel nurses like a champ, soothes easily, and sleeps often. Cadence has made the adjustment to big sisterhood rather gracefully. It's been cool, and sometimes trying, to see how she works through the changes Laurel has made to the rhythm of our day. I feel incredibly blessed to have been entrusted with these amazing girls and to be supported by loving family and friends.